The New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation's Pink Caravan team helped two Whanganui people with concerns about breast cancer and provided information for nursing students, all within an hour of opening.

The Pink Caravan was based at the Gonville shopping centre on Wednesday, with specialist breastcare nurses Gill Mockford and Trish Sole raising awareness of breast health. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

When the Chronicle visited soon after the caravan opened for the day, the team had already spoken with a woman who had concerns about breast changes and, after talking with the nurses, was off to see her doctor. They had also had visits from a man who wanted to know about male breast cancer and UCOL second-year enrolled nursing students Torika Baleisolomoni and Derryn Hurinui who got information to help with their studies.

Read more: Breast health caravan heads to Whanganui


The Pink Caravan is on the road around New Zealand for several months of the year, visiting communities and workplaces.

"It's mostly about breast awareness - knowing what's your normal and what to look out for," Mrs Mockford said.

"Women may have questions about when they should start to have mammograms, how worried they need to be about a lump and what action they need to take. A lot of women, particularly young women who aren't eligible to have a mammogram, want education.

"We also see women who have had a cancer diagnosis and want some support and more information.

"It's about increasing knowledge. We are supporting all the messages that are already out there."

Breast cancer is the most common cancer for New Zealand women. Research shows that the earlier it is detected, the better the outcome, so the foundation recommends women become breast aware from age 20.

The foundation's website has a wealth of information about breast health. Free advice from a nurse is available by calling 0800 BC Nurse (0800 2268 773) and there is a free counselling service for people affected by breast cancer.